5. Always Powder Your Bedpans
Nobody wants to get stuck on a bedpan. However, obese patients can often have trouble removing a bedpan if it gets stuck – powdering the “seat” of the bedpan will minimize sticking and allow for easy evacuation of bedpans.
6. Calm Needle-phobic Patients With Breathing Techniques
Lots of patients hate needles. If you’re having trouble with a needle-phobic patient, have them perform some deep breathing exercises to calm down before you insert a needle. This can reduce the risk of movement and panic.
7. Got A “Code Brown?” Triple-Glove It!
Cleaning poop is a surprisingly large part of life as a nurse. To avoid getting excrement on your hands, use a triple-glove technique. When cleaning poop and removing a diaper, you’ll be wearing three pairs of gloves. Strip one pair off after cleaning, and apply a new diaper. Finally, take that pair off and use the last remaining pair to replace bedsheets and dispose of waste.
8. Pause Before Leaving A Room
Nurses have to do a lot. If you feel like you’re forgetting something, pause briefly before leaving the room, and take a look around. You might remember something important.
9. Use Shaving Cream To Remove Feces From Body Hair
Feces stuck in body hair can be hard to remove, even with soap and water. Foaming shaving cream provides a perfect cleaning medium. Lather it up and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Dispose properly.
10. Warm Up Your Stethoscope
A cold stethoscope is jarring to patients – warm it up by rubbing your hands quickly to build friction, and then cupping the stethoscope.
11. Keep A Second – Or Third – Pair Of Scrubs Handy
Whether in your car or locker, having an extra pair of scrubs can be the difference between ending a shift covered in bodily fluids – or being (nearly) fresh as a daisy.
12. Use Coffee Grounds To Absorb Odor
Coffee grounds absorb odor wonderfully. Put a small pot of ground coffee beans in the middle of a room if a patient is experiencing odor issues.
13. Warm IV Insertion Locations With A Warm Towel
This will help dilate blood vessels and assist you in locating the right IV insertion location.
14. Moisturize Your Wipes With Lotion For Tough Feces Removal Scenarios
C. Diff infections and diarrheal incontinence issues can lead to sticky feces that are hard to clean. Moisturizing your wipes with lotion will aid in removal of sticky, hard-to-remove feces.
15. Let Family Members Do Something
If you have nervous or antsy family members around their loved one, give them a task. It can be as simple as folding washcloths, or holding the hand of their loved one – they just need a purpose.
16. Use “Sock-On-Sock” To Avoid Losing Socks
When you remove a sock from a foot to perform a procedure, it can be easy to misplace it. Instead of putting it on a table or the bed, stick it on top of the other sock on the patient’s foot – it’ll be hard to miss.
17. Tell Patients You’re Taking Their Pulse – When You’re Checking Respiration
When you tell a patient you’re checking their respiration, their breathing will often change unconsciously. To avoid this and get a clear reading, just tell them that you’re checking their pulse. They won’t change their breathing pattern.
18. Use Personal Lubricant To Loosen Dried Blood
Dried blood is tough to remove from skin, but KY Jelly and other personal lubricants can soak up the blood and allow it to be wiped away easily.
19. Ask Patients If They Need Anything Before You Leave
You don’t want to be running all up and down your ward. Before you leave a room, ask a patient if they need anything else – this will save you from having to run between your patients, and keep you from forgetting crucial tasks.
20. Bring A Water Bottle To Work
Staying hydrated is crucial to good performance as a nurse. If you can, leave your water bottle at the nurses station – if you’re not allowed, keep it full and keep it in the break room, and take a break to drink some water whenever you can. Staying hydrated avoids fatigue, headaches, and can even improve heart function.
These simple life hacks are sure to make your busy nursing life easier. Try out your favorites, and let us know how it goes! Also, feel free to share your favorite nursing life hacks below – we’d all love to hear about your tricks and expertise.